When there is a disaster with a major mode of transportation that is not a car or a truck, people are afraid. Every time a plane crashes, it's all over the news. If a train goes off the rails, people are constantly talking about what can be done to make travel safer.

Do they forget that far more people are killed in car accidents?

Eight Against Hundreds

For example, a writer for Slate pointed out that an Amtrak wreck claimed eight lives in 2015. It made the news and there were congressional hearings addressing the situation. That same year, he was driving through Georgia and saw that more than 700 people had been killed already that year. That was only in Georgia, one state out of 50. And he was driving through in the summer. Half of the year remained, and Georgia's highways were on pace to take more than 1,000 lives.

Total Deaths

Not all states will lead to that many deaths, but about 35,000 people pass away from car accidents each year in the United States. That's an incredible number. No one thinks it will happen to them, but it happens many times every day.

Compare that to plane crashes. While the 747 can be configured a few different ways, one popular configuration allows it to carry around 400 people. In order to take 35,000 lives, a full 88 planes would have to go down every single year.

That illustrates how desensitized we've become to car accident statistics. When one or two planes go down, people get nervous. If 88 fully-loaded passenger planes crashed in the United States in 2017, no one would fly. But we all still drive.

Your Rights

Knowing the stats shouldn't keep you from driving, but it should help show you what the risk looks like. If a loved one is killed in a car accident, make sure you also know your legal rights to compensation.